We made indigo t shirts for this group of somen noodle makers based in Fukura, Minami Awaji City.
The text on the back says ‘awaji shima te nobi somen‘ which means ‘Awaji Island hand pulled [or stretched] somen’
They make really long thick noodles as well as standard length super fine somen noodles. The process is really fun to watch as the noodles are literally stretched on massive lo-fi noodle cranking machines.
I’ve always enjoyed the noodles in the summer, served chilled and with ‘mentsuyu‘ and ice cubes, but recently I learnt how to enjoy them in a steaming bowl of hot broth too…so good. There is a mainly somen restaurant in the centre of Sumoto called ‘onmoodo’ おんもーど They even do a thai curry somen. delicious.
We used a combination methods: stencil and bleach to make the letters and little birds, sticks and clamps to make the stripes in the bottom left corner. The stripes represent the noodles.
According to this link :
“Chidori, or Plovers, are a migratory bird in Japan. They are usually depicted flying over waves. Since they have to brave high waves and strong winds, they are a symbol of strength and perseverance. ” So thats nice isn’t it? Plover is also the official bird of Sumoto city, where I live.
This photo shows the lines in the bottom corner being clamped shut. We fold the fabric into concertina then squash it between 2 sticks. This is one way (of many) to make stripes.
This is the hand-cut stencil we used to push the bleach through to the dyed tshirt. We can reuse the stencil 10 times or more but have to be really careful about the tiniest parts. Some shapes are definitely easier to do than others. We cut out from this specialist brown paper then attach the tiny or ‘floating’ parts of the design on to a mesh on the back. We use a kind of traditional lacquer to glue the mesh and paper together.